SHAHEEN CONTINUES FIGHT AGAINST PRESCRIPTION DRUG ADDICTION IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Calls for strong funding of DOJ prescription drug monitoring programs

April 30, 2014

(Washington, DC) – In a continued effort to combat prescription drug addiction and abuse in New Hampshire, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today urged Senate appropriators to provide strong funding for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program that monitor prescription drugs and prevent abuse. Heroin and prescription drug addiction has reached epidemic proportions in New Hampshire, and according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the number of people admitted to state treatment programs for prescription drug use increased 500 percent over the last 10 years.

“There is a growing prescription drug epidemic in New Hampshire and throughout the United States,” said Shaheen. “The Harold Rogers and NASPER programs are vital to the federal response to this crisis.”

The Harold Rogers program and NASPER provide support to already existing state prescription drug monitoring programs and bolster their ability to operate effectively and efficiently. These programs help monitor prescription drugs, provide information to health care providers and offer educational outreach.

“Opioid and narcotic prescription abuse has reached epidemic proportions, and we must combat this problem on all fronts, including providing states with robust resources through the Harold Rogers and NASPER programs to implement, expand and coordinate prescription drug monitoring efforts,” Shaheen added.

Shaheen has made stemming the spread of prescription drug and opioid abuse in New Hampshire a top priority. In the past month, Shaheen has held two roundtables with law enforcement representatives and public health experts in New Hampshire to discuss ways to combat the state’s growing problem. She has also called on Attorney General Eric Holder to collaborate with state and local law enforcement to comprehensively prevent and address heroin and prescription drug addiction within New Hampshire communities. Today’s letter follows another sent by Shaheen last month calling for investment and support for programs to assist local law enforcement and health care providers address prescription drug and heroin abuse.  

The full text of Senator Shaheen’s letter is included below:

April 30, 2014

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski                                   The Honorable Richard Shelby

Chairwoman                                                               Ranking Member

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee                            Senate Appropriations Subcommittee

on Commerce, Justice, Science and                               on Commerce, Justice, Science and

Related Agencies                                                        Related Agencies

Washington, DC 20510                                                Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tom Harkin                                           The Honorable Jerry Moran

Chairman                                                                   Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and                              Subcommittee on Labor, Health and

Human Services, and Education                                     Human Services, and Education

Committee on Appropriations                                       Committee on Appropriations

United States Senate                                                   United States Senate

Washington, D.C.  20510                                             Washington, D.C.  20510

Dear Chairwoman Mikulski, Ranking Member Shelby, Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Moran:

As you draft appropriations bills for your subcommittees for the upcoming fiscal year, I am writing to request that you provide strong funding for two federal programs critical to state efforts to monitor prescription drugs and prevent abuse – the Department of Justice’s Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program. 

As you know, there is a growing heroin epidemic in New Hampshire and throughout the United States. NASPER and the Harold Rogers programs are vital to the federal response to this crisis. 

These programs provide critical support for existing state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and can help improve their ability to provide timely information to health care providers, help new PDMPs become established within a state and support the ultimate goal of a secure national PDMP network.  NASPER and the Harold Rogers program can also help increase the frequency of states’ data uploading, provide funding for provider education about PDMPs and help the diffusion of PDMP use into regular practice.

As you know, DOJ’s Harold Rogers program supports state PDMPs by providing grants for planning and technical assistance to implement programs and boost the capacity of regulatory agencies and prescribers to prevent prescription drug abuse.  New Hampshire will soon have a PMDP operational, and this program will save lives in my state.

Many states also need different types of support and resources as they implement and expand PMDPs, and the NASPER program has the flexibility to help state PMDPs become more comprehensive.  Some states may use NASPER funds to support their annual operations, while others will expand educational outreach to providers, improve data security or establish data sharing agreements with near-by states. 

Opioid and narcotic prescription abuse has reached epidemic proportions, and we must combat this problem on all fronts, including providing states with robust resources through the NASPER and Harold Rogers programs to implement, expand and coordinate prescription drug monitoring efforts. 

Thank you for your consideration of this request. 

Sincerely,

 

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator